A Day in the Life of the Soo Locks

The movie with this post shows a day in the life of the Soo Locks.  I got the raw video for this movie from the following Corps of Engineer’s website.  My anti-virus software didn’t much like this site, because of some problem with its certificate, but I think that it is OK.  I mean it’s the Federal Government, they’re here to help us, right?  The day in question was September 1st, 2009.  I picked this day because it was the first one recorded.  The movie uses a technique called time-lapse photography.   The cameras take a single still photograph every minute.  At the end of the day you have enough still photos to string together and make a little movie.  There are four cameras situated around the locks and I mashed together footage from all four of them to make this movie.  I then added some boat sounds and an Anchor’s Away soundtrack from SoundSnap and respectively FreeSound to complete the show.  Enjoy! 

OBTW, my VodPod widget seems to be broken.  Hopefully it is just temporary.  All better now!  😳

I was listening to NPR during the Friday night commute home.  They had on a pair of articles about the so-called Asian Carp.  This is an invasive fish that has permeated the Mississippi river system and is now poised to enter the Great Lakes.  I have seen Asian Carp at the Mel Price Lock and Dam, the first step up the ladder of locks that climb the Mississippi River and also and more importantly, the Illinois River.

It was last spring that I first saw them.  There were about a half-dozen of them that had been left to die on the river bank.  The Corps of Engineers had asked fisherman that catch them not to throw them back.  And since most, but not all fisherman do not consider them to be good eating fish, no one wanted to keep them.  On that day, an Asian man was happily packing his carp into a cooler. 

Their name, Asian Carp, is a bit misleading.  They don’t look at all like our native carp.  They have a silver, streamlined body that based upon the sample population of that day at the lock, ranges between two and three feet in length.  Other news reports about the fish have said that when excited, as with a passing motorboat, it will leap out of the water and often cause laceration to boaters with its razor-sharp fins.  This story and their general appearance leads me to agree with proponents for this fish’s alternative name, that is the Silverfin.

Anyway, back to the news story.  The State of Michigan is reopening an eighty year old lawsuit and is suing Illinois again to force the closure of the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal.  In the 1920s when the canal was first built, Michigan launched its original lawsuit.  The gripe at that time was that Illinois was siphoning off water.  The Supreme Court dismissed the suit, but left the door open, if Michigan could prove damages.  Fast forward to the present and Michigan has renewed its lawsuit over the carp.  Scientists have detected carp within a few miles of the last barrier to Lake Michigan.

This next week a Federal Court will rule on an injunction, that could close the canal to shipping.  The economic implication both for and against are formidable.  Hanging in the balance is the Michigan and all the other great lake state’s and Canadian providence’s fishing rights.  Sports fishing tourism is a major industry in this region.  Balance this against the closure of a major shipping industry.  In the deep freeze of winter a temporary injunction won’t materially hurt anyone and could buy time to save the lakes.

3 thoughts on “A Day in the Life of the Soo Locks

  1. I liked the part where you are focused on the locks and can really see the water level going up and down. Also watching the shadows advance along Portage Avenue.

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